SAARC Initiatives on COVID-19
At the initiative of Indian Prime Minister, SAARC Leaders held Video Conference on 15 March on fighting Corona Virus Pandemic. Following action points were proposed:
-Creation of SAARC COVID 29 Emergency Fund.
India pledged USD 10 million. Bangladesh pledged USD 1.5 million, Afghanitan, USD 1 million, Bhutan 1 lakh, Maldives, USD 2 lakhs, Nepal, USD 8.31 Lakhs, Sri Lanka, USD 5 Million. Fund will be owned and operated by respective member states.
-Rapid Response Teams for COVID-19.
-Online Training Capsules.
-Video Conference of Doctors was already held on 26 March, a whatsapp group of Doctors formed which will create a common website to share virtual expertise on COVID-19. Additional DG of DGHS Professor Dr Sania Tahmina and Dr Faiz from Bangladesh are assigned for the whatsapp group.
-Video Conference of Trade Officials.
-Integrated Health Platform for Disease Surveillance.
-Creation of Research Platforms.
-Bangladesh proposed to host a research institute to fight future public health threats in SAARC Region.
-Each Member state designated their national focal points of SAARC at Foreign Ministries as the SAARC COVID-19 Focal Points.
-So far, only the SAARC Doctors’ Video Conference took place and its follow ups are taking place.
-M/O Foreign Affairs informed the above to M/O Health and Family Planning and DGHS and is in touch with them.
As a follow up of the SAARC Doctors and Medical Experts Video Conf on 26 March, the Indian government shared the ongoing training sessions on the web conducted by AIIMS, a premier medical teaching and research institution of India. This is also being planned to be posted on the whatsapp group of health professionals/authorities, for use, feedback and discussion. The link is given below: